BCITO uses the power of juxtaposition to promote life on the tools

The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) has launched a new campaign with the aim of recruiting 5,000 new apprentices. And it’s doing it by focusing on the pros of working in construction, such as not racking up a huge student loan, being fit and muscular, spending time outdoors and being a total babe magnet.

The organisation says it aims to spread awareness about the career opportunities available in construction due to a shortage across the country.

“Since 2012, our construction sector has grown by nearly nine percent in contrast to the wider economy which has grown around 2.5 percent,” says Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) chief executive Ruma Karaitiana. “This has never happened before, and construction is now one of the fastest growing parts of the economy, predicted to grow 3.2 percent per annum until at least 2017. The downside of this is that we are now very short of professional tradespeople, and there seems to be a lag in market response to opportunity. Sure we’re signing up more apprentices now, but most career seekers are behaving in the same way, going down the same pathways that they have been going down for decades. While nearly 30 percent of school leavers are going off to uni, less than seven percent are going to trade apprenticeships. We’re trying to change that.”

The campaign, dubbed “It’s not” features a juxtaposition of images representing what “It’s not” and what “It is” to have an apprenticeship, for example, a budget beer compared to a keg of craft IPA, an unfit couch potato compared to someone fit and strong, or pliers compared to a large saw.

Posted by BCITO Building Apprenticeships on Monday, April 20, 2015

Posted by BCITO Building Apprenticeships on Friday, April 17, 2015

The campaign reminds us a little of Powershop’s protest-themed campaign, which began its roll out earlier in the year.

BCITO marketing and communications manager Andrew Robertson says the creative idea was birthed between him and BCITO’s design agency Cansino & Co.

“I’ve worked with Adam Cansino for a number of years … Once we had the big idea, the creative iterations just flowed – Cansino & Co took on creative direction and production. I did some copywriting.”

He says they came up with the idea in February and launched the campaign in late March.

“It’s certainly a campaign that we’re proud of and that has been bought about by a fairly serious public issue.”

Robertson says the campaign has mainly been pushed out through outdoor advertising and digital. 

“We’re using outdoor to generate awareness, and digital to convert. Outdoor includes: billboards, bus shelters, mobile walking and driving billboards. We also did some print ads in student magazines which [the BA vs LOL execution] caused quite a stir on one university campus in particular. We were, however, aiming to be a little controversial and push a few buttons. Digital includes: Google Adwords and Display Network, YouTube prerollsNZME, Facebook – all handled by our digital agency Uprise Digital. Facebook is converting the best at the moment – around eight percent. The visual aspect of the campaign seems to work well in news feeds.”

He says the campaign will run until early May with digital channels being open until around June.

Karaitiana says one of the key issues the organisation is really honing in on is student loans.

“We’ve always been a little perplexed by the ‘elephant in the classroom’; that is the $14 billion of student debt plaguing many learners. The average domestic student’s debt in 2014 is up 57 percent on 2011, to almost $25,000. We’re trying to get the message out there that it doesn’t have to be this way. Our apprentices don’t have student loans; they have jobs.”

He says recent BCITO research shows that 98 percent of graduated BCITO apprentices are in full-time employment. Of these, 32 percent expect to progress into supervision or management in the next two years, and 27 percent see themselves starting their own business.

“Compare some of these numbers to other pathways, and we’ve got a very positive proposal. By comparison, only 56 percent of bachelor degree graduates get a job in their first year after graduating. Now we just need to get the word out,” he says. 

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